Explosions across Iraq kill at least 43

Uptick in violence takes place ahead of next week's Arab League summit in Baghdad; Summit seen as debut on regional stage.

By REUTERS
March 20, 2012 11:25
1 minute read.
Bombings in Iraq

Bombings in Iraq. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ako Rasheed)

BAGHDAD- Car and roadside bombs killed at least 43 people in cities and towns across Iraq on Tuesday, police and hospital sources said, extending a spate of violence ahead of next week's Arab League summit in Baghdad.

The meeting is seen as the country's debut on the regional stage following the withdrawal of US troops in December and Iraq's government is anxious to show it can reinforce security to host its neighbors.

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The deadliest attack on Tuesday occurred in the southern Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Kerbala, where twin explosions killed 13 people and wounded 48, according to Jamal Mahdi, a Kerbala health department spokesman.

"The second explosion caused the biggest destruction. I saw body parts, fingers, hands thrown on the road," 23-year-old shop owner Murtadha Ali Kadhim told Reuters.

Blasts also occurred in Kirkuk, Baiji, Samarra, Tuz Khurmato, Daquq and Dhuluiya, all north of Baghdad, in Ramadi in the west, and Hilla, Latifiya and Mahmudiya in the south.

The toll from all the bombings stood at 43 killed and 232 wounded. On Monday evening, bombers struck five times in the northern province of Diyala, killing at least three people and wounding more than 30, police said.

Security forces are frequently targeted in Iraq, where bombings and shootings still occur on a daily basis and Sunni Muslim insurgents and Shi'ite militias are still capable of carrying out lethal attacks.



Although overall violence has declined since the height of sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007, many Iraqis worry whether their government has the wherewithal to impose security nine years after the US-led invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein.

The Arab League summit is due to be held in Baghdad on March 27-29, the first time Iraq will host the event in more than 20 years.


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